Grave_Out of Respect for the DeadThere are few things more certain in life than ending up in a grave – whether it’s of the watery, earthen or concrete variety, we’ll all end up interred somewhere. In much the same way, you can almost guarantee a new Grave album will offer a quality dose of old timey Swedish death, heavy on the heavy and light on the frills. Out of Respect for the Dead is yet another reason to trust these grizzled vets to deliver exactly the kind of music fans want. It’s murky, ugly and utterly resistant to modern trends. While scene darlings like Deafheaven dabble in the here and now, Grave digs ever deeper into the mulch of death metal’s glory days, and since they keep hitting pay dirt, there’s no reason for them to cease excavation anytime soon. This time things feel a bit more urgent and aggressive and there’s a somewhat larger Sodom and Slayer undercurrent, but everything you loved about Grave is still here, moldering and growing nasty fungi just for you and I.

After an eerie and mood setting beginning, “Mass Grave Mass” proceeds to go for your throat like the ravenous undead, pummeling with ripping, thrashy D-beatery and gurgled vocals aplenty. Yes, it sounds like every Grave (and Entombed and Dismember) platter, but it’s well-executed, raucous and entertainingly sincere. It’s a great opener and gets your blood pumping. “Flesh Before My Eyes” dials things up even further with thick, heavy riffs, discordant solos and whammy bar molestation that would make Kerry King proud. It’s the kind of song that causes you to make gruesome faces and seize every invisible melon within reach, even if you’re trying to avoid making a spectacle of yourself. In a strategic change of pace, “Plain Pine Box” showcases the band’s doomy side with torrents of fat Celtic Frost worship and a tone ideal for a funeral procession. This kind of tune is when Grave is at their best and when Ola Lindgren gurgles “and my eyes still bleed” it feels so raw and dirty, I can’t help but approve.

And the rest of Out of Respect is remarkably solid. There’s a big dose of Persecution Mania era Sodom running throughout the title track and the riffs are sweet music to zombie ears. “The Ominous ‘They'” reminds me a lot of Death Breath and the scabby riffs feel imported from 1991, while “Deified” has a fair share of Slayer flavor in the riff phrasing. The album’s centerpiece is the near-ten minute closer “Grotesque Glory” and these kind of long-winded death monoliths are something few bands but Grave could pull off successfully, though this is their longest piece to date. It opens with a heavy Monotheist vibe in the glacial riffs and builds into a grinding mid-tempo beast somewhere between vintage Asphyx and Hail of Bullets. The tempos really don’t vary much until the midway point where they leap into the thrash pan, but somehow things don’t get boring or feel long-winded.

Grave_2015

None of the songs feel flat and I like the faint Reign in Blood vibe created by the way “Redeemed Through Hate” merges seamlessly into “Deified.” The sound is solid as well, murky and eschewing most modern recording trends to arrive at a comfortably vintage buzzy ugliness. I especially like the drum sound, which is crisp and satisfying.

This is the same line-up from Endless Procession of Souls and they’re definitely gelling as a unit. I’ve always enjoyed Ola Lindgren’s deathly rasps and he sounds fine as per usual, but the riffing and solos from he and Mika Lagren are better this time. The thrash segments feel more intense and those classic dirges hit right on target. The whammy abuse is a bit excessive at times, possibly requiring counseling of some sort, but overall this platter is raging with quality riffs. The key is the excellent balance between fast and slow, which is something these fiends always had a knack for. The changes of pace during songs from speed to skulk works well and keeps the listener wired in for the duration.

There are almost no surprises on Out of Respect for the Dead and it’s essentially Grave being Grave, but this does sound a bit more refreshed and revitalized than their last outing and the writing is definitely on point for the genre. You know exactly what this will sound like and whether you need more retro Swede-death in your life, but Grave makes a good case for themselves as usual. You can take that to the cemetery. Dig?


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Century Media
Websites: facebook.com/GraveOfficial
Releases Worldwide: October 16th 2015

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  • Dr. A.N. Grier

    I like that artwork.

    • Pimpolho

      It’s so full of faces and silhouettes! Me likey!

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      Artwork is great

    • Martin Knap

      Costin Chioreanu of course, the guy is everywhere :-)

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        Damn right ;)

  • Francesco Bordoni

    Ohohoh dear oh dear I’ll make sure to bring out my fucking dead and disrespect them properly for this one beast, all right!

    What a blast it was, “Endless procession of souls”! That album – “Epos” in particular – showcased some of the most sick, doomy and monstruosly addictive death metal riffs I had heard in a looong while; also Ola has to be one of the strongest and most proficient gurglers around… surely one of my favourite voices in DM – ever. CAN’T WAIT to dig this :D

  • El_Cuervo

    Sounds solid. But my old-school DM pick of the year is definitely LIK, for which there is an upcoming review.

    • 517H

      Ooh will look out for it. Has anyone got Firespawn in their sights?

    • Pimpolho

      Isn’t LIK a depressive black metal/rock band or something like that? I am not aware of the LIK you are talking about.

  • Wilhelm

    The song sounds mighty good, could maybe use a bit more on the dynamic range, but definitely listenable and enjoyable. Great artwork as well.

  • sssgadget

    Where is AOTM for Sept??

    • AlphaBetaFoxface

      Wait…

      Is it no longer September?

      Screw you, AMG

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Did we really need to see the lyrics in this video?
    No we didn’t!!
    It’s distracting and detracts from the enjoyment of the song by reading instead of llistening. If anything it just made me like the song less as I sat here reading them and thinking, they’re pretty clunky, he’s telling a story but it’s not working and the imagery he’s using is a bit cliche…I wouldn’t have thought any of that with out the lyric, I just would’ve enjoyed the old school tone.
    Have labels and bands got such little imagination that they can’t come up with a better idea than a ‘lyric video’ for their promos?

    • De2013

      Yeah most of the time they suck. But also most of the time it’s a matter of costs instead of imagination.

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        They already had a good promo clip. It would’ve been just fine / way better with out the lyrics less work too!
        The artwork is great and is perfect for their music. Why they added the lyrics is beyond me.

  • Alex Leverkühn

    Dismember is no longer. I have no idea what Entombed is up to these days. Of the original Swedish death, only Unleashed and Grave are still keeping the flame alive. I will always “Enter the Grave” to seek those “Shadows in the Deep.”

  • Nick Maestas

    I love the Stockholm style of death metal (not including melo-death) the most it has the best tone and riffs in my opinion.